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On December 4, 1956, four of the world’s most talented musical artists happened to be in the same place at the same time. Upon meeting one another, these four artists, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins came together for a jam session at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee.
The recording from that session later became known as “The Million Dollar Quartet,” and is considered to be a groundbreaking moment in the history of rock and roll.
As it turns out, the whole session occurred by pure chance, when all four artists happened to be in the studios at Sun Records at the same time. Thankfully, someone thought to record the jam session between the four, and the rest is history.
Elvis took over singing lead vocals on most of the songs, while the others sang background and harmony parts. The majority of the songs they recorded were country or gospel, with many of the gospel songs being ones all four artists sang as children.
One of the gospel songs the quartet recorded was “Just A Little Talk with Jesus.” The tune was written by Cleavant Derricks, who wrote over 300 songs over the course of his life. It’s been covered numerous times since.
The Quartet’s version of the song kicks off with a powerful entrance. Elvis sang the first note before the rest of the singers joined in harmony with him. The Quartet kept up the quick pace until about 50 seconds into the song, when they slowed things down and pulled away most of the instrumentals.
Mid-song, the Quartet also participated in an instrumental break. They maintained the slower pace they set earlier in the song, with Elvis singing lead on the final few notes.
But all the words in the world can’t do this performance justice. It is simply one you have to listen to yourself, and you can in the video below.
Thank goodness someone thought to record these four talented artists singing together, because now we have extraordinary music to enjoy for years to come.